The Lost Blogs #32
Travel Dates: Sat, April 28, 2012 – Thu, May 3, 2012
It was our final day in Okinawa, and we didn’t have much time left, since our flights back to Osaka were scheduled for 3:30 in the afternoon. We said goodbye to our rental car, the onsen, and our hotel, and knew that we wouldn’t be able to get out of Naha. We hoped that this last day in Naha would treat us kindly.
Luckily for us, the weather forecast was promising dry, sunny days. Yes, we were thrilled that finally, we could enjoy a sunny day on the main island, but we were also a little angry that the storm had come during our vacation and we would be leaving just as the weather started to warm up!! Oh well… しょうがない、ね。
We spent some time in Kokusai-dori to do our omiyage shopping for ourselves, students, and co-workers. Then we took the Okinawa Monorail into town, following directions on posters we had seen advertising the Naha Hari Matsuri (那覇ハーリー祭り).
Hari are dragon boat races, which originate from Chinese culture. The races are held to pray for a bountiful year and for the safety of fisherman. The main event is held at the Naha New Port Wharf in Naha City during the Naha Hari Festival, which spans the last three days of Golden Week, usually from May 3 to May 5.
As with all festivals in Japan, and Okinawa is no different, there are other events scheduled during the day in addition to the boat races, and plenty of festival foods.
We were able to find a lot of the usual menu items, like French fries, chicken karaage, takoyaki, yakitori, etc. but we also found plenty of international festival foods as well! Churros, corn dogs, tacos, just to name a few…
I got really excited when we found a stall selling Special Jumbo Pies, which were really deep-fried empanadas.
They even had BBQ ribs with pineapple! These looked so tasty, but I was so full already, I wasn’t able to try them!
But not to full to fulfill the desires of my betsu-bara — my second stomach, devoted to dessert! It was starting to feel hot, like the early days of summer, so I enjoyed a Puffy Snow with Okiniwan salt cookie (chinsuko) topping! Yum, yum, yum… I love chinsuko.
All in all, a good day in Naha! The festival is definitely worth checking out if you’re on the islands for Golden Week. :)
Goodbye Okinawa…! And hello, Kansai. We had a long afternoon of travel, with the flight, then the shinkansen to Hamamatsu, and then the bus back to our home. But it was nice to be back for Golden Week. We had been looking forward to the Hamamatsu Kite Fighting Festival for over a year, since the 2011 event had been canceled after the earthquake.
If you’re curious to read about the Hamamatsu Matsuri, click here to read my blog post!